DUBLINER Melanie McCabe is back on the X Factor this year, giving fame one last shot.
After three failed attempts to make it on the show, the stakes are even higher this time round. The 20 year old Whitehall native has said that a downturn in her family fortunes, which sees her and her mum Claire at risk of losing their home, was a motivating factor in auditioning.
It has also emerged that her mother was unable to fund the trip to attend the auditions, so her grandfather paid for the flights.
"Do you think she should give up Mum?" my 10-year-old son asked me as we watched her sing her heart out last weekend.
I was momentarily stuck for an answer to his question. In some ways, yes, it would have been easier for Melanie to have admitted defeat. After all, lots of people want to be famous singers, but only a tiny proportion of them ever achieve that dream.
Furthermore, even if she does make it to the live shows, there's no guarantee of success at the end of it all. So many of the X Factor contestants crash and burn, never to be heard of again once the show ends -- and that includes past winners.
But does that mean that she should have thrown in the towel and given up? No.
Like all parents, I tell my children that if at first you don't succeed, try, try and try again. Life isn't always easy -- but if you fall you have to pick yourself up, brush yourself off and start over. It's not how many defeats you encounter that matters, it's how you deal with them that counts. Melanie is a case in point. It must require huge courage to get back up on that stage again, in front of millions, hoping that this time something will change and that the ending will be a happy one.
For her, it seems as if there's no other choice -- singing is her life. As she said, "I think it's the only thing I've ever been good at. I feel like the person I'm supposed to be when I sing."
But Melanie already realises what it takes many of us a while to figure out -- success doesn't come easy. It requires hard work, discipline and resilience.
Yes, you often have to be in the right place at the right time to get that lucky break. But it's also true that the harder you work, the luckier you can get.
We all want our children's lives to be happy, fulfilling ones. But none of us can guarantee that, especially when jobs are hard to come by and many of our young people are forced to emigrate in search of work, leaving broken-hearted parents and family behind.
They will need all the fighting spirit they can muster as they reach for their goals. They could learn something about ambition and sheer grit from Melanie who has now been named as favourite to win X Factor by bookmakers.
She is set to fly to Antigua in the Caribbean this week to battle it out with five other singers to win one of three places in Nicole Scherzinger's girls' category.
Whatever happens next, win or lose, Melanie will know that she has given it her all. That will stand to her for the rest of her life and should stand as a lesson to her peers.